IMPROVING MY ECD CENTRE STARTING WITH ME!

3 November 2020

We often talk about what ‘quality’ means in Early Childhood Development (ECD). How do we know when what we do in ECD is valuable and up to standard? One reason why it is so hard to answer the question “What is quality ECD provision in practice?” is because ECD happens in so many different contexts and situations.

We can find many tools to help us improve our way of thinking about our ECD Centers. Changing our outlook on it will help make the necessary changes to ensure that my centre is optimizing its potential on delivering the best service to my ability.

What is a self-reflection tool?

Self-reflection means giving serious thought to the way you do things. In your professional life a self-reflection tool is something that helps you think about your work experience in an aware and critical way. It gives you a way in which you can examine:

 > Your knowledge about your profession

> Your skills

> Your work practices and behaviors

 > Your feelings and attitudes about your work

Looking back over your own experiences and considering what you know (or don’t know) about your work helps you find ways in which you can develop your professional practice. You get a deeper understanding of your strengths, and you can plan to improve on areas of weakness. Self-reflection tools take many forms. Many of them use questions to help you focus on an aspect of your working life.

Using the Reflection Tool:

Areas of Quality in ECD The Quality Reflection Tool is made up of a set of questions about different aspects or areas of ECD. By answering these questions, you can develop and express your own ideas about quality in ECD.

 Reflection Tool: Four Areas of Quality in ECD

A: TEACHING & LEARNING

 B: ECD ENVIRONMENT

C: ECD POLICY FRAMEWORK

 D: LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT* (* Section D is for ECD site or centre managers, or school principals. But you can use this section even if you are not a manager or a principal, if you want to think about your own leadership qualities.)

Reflecting on these four different areas of quality will guide you in identifying aspects of your work where you may need to find out more information, or get help in developing your knowledge and skills.

What is Teaching and Learning?

This area is the heart of your work in ECD. When we talk about ‘teaching and learning’, we talk about how you teach – that is, your methods and activities. In what ways do you share knowledge with your learners? What kinds of things do you do to help them learn? Activities might be listening, talking, playing, drawing, singing and so on. Teaching and learning also deals with the practical skills you use to manage your groups or classes, and keep track of their progress. Teaching and learning also includes your own attitudes and beliefs about children and how they learn. We therefore need to think about the different ways in which children learn. There are many teaching and learning methods you can use, as long as these suit the aims you want to achieve.

Reflecting on how I plan and organize my teaching, and how I behave with my groups or classes

Here are some questions on the different ways in which children learn and how you can encourage learning.

  • What are my views on how children learn?

  • How do I encourage learning in young children?

  • Reflection Question: What other methods or activities do I use?

  • What kinds of activities do we do?

  • Reflection Question: What do I think about learning through play, and how do I help this to happen?

Reflecting on my own values, attitudes and beliefs

  • Here are some questions about how your view of the world affects your teaching.

  • How do my own values and beliefs affect my work as an ECD practitioner?

  • What ethical issues do I think are most important for an ECD practitioner?

  • How do my attitudes and beliefs about children and what they can do or learn affect my work?

Looking at my strengths and weaknesses

 As you continue to fill in the Reflection Tool, you will be able to see where you are confident in your work, or where you would like to know more about teaching and learning theories and practice.

What is the ECD environment?

When we talk about the ‘environment’ of an ECD site or classroom, we mean the physical, mental, emotional and social conditions in which the children develop and learn. By physical conditions, we mean the indoor and outdoor space and the resources that are available for activities and play. By mental, emotional and social conditions, we mean things that influence how the children think, feel and behave. These are things like having simple rules and routines that help them feel safe while they play and learn, and that encourage them to try new things. The environment is also affected by your own attitudes and beliefs about children and how they learn, and by the attitudes, beliefs and expectations of parents and the community. ECD practitioners work hard to create an environment that gives every child the opportunities they need to develop and learn. The environment needs to be stimulating for the children, meaning that it is interesting and exciting for them.

What are policies and procedures in ECD?

Governments develop policies to guide their decisions about what to do in areas such as the economy or education. Government policies usually include things like principles (such as inclusive education), how and where money is to be spent, and how a system will be run. National policy in ECD deals with things like support for children and parents, support for ECD centres, and training and qualifications for ECD practitioners. ECD in South Africa is guided by several important policy and guideline documents:

  • The National Integrated ECD Policy of 2015

  • The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) Birth to Four of 2015

  • The Road to Health booklets for parents or caregivers deal with things like nutrition in the early years, the vaccinations that children need, and developmental milestones for babies and young children.

  • One of the things a centre needs to do to become registered is to develop its internal policies, with the procedures or steps needed to carry them out. Some unregistered centres, or home-based centres, might not have some of the required policies in place.

What is Leadership and Management in ECD?

The principal or manager of an ECD centre plays many roles. The two most important responsibilities are instructional leadership and organisational management. By ‘instructional leadership’ we mean giving direction and providing support on things that directly affect the quality of teaching and the children’s learning and development. This begins with communicating a clear vision and goals to staff. It also means developing and supporting staff, guiding curriculum implementation, monitoring teaching and learning activities, and making sure there are resources to promote children’s learning and development. By ‘organizational management’ we mean planning and guiding the processes and day-to-day operations that keep the ECD site running smoothly so that quality teaching and learning can take place. These include such things as the money coming in and going out, the working conditions of staff, office activities and meeting government requirements. It also includes making sure that everything at the centre is kept clean and in good working order

Plan for your own growth and professional development

1. Setting Goals

 An important part of personal and professional growth is knowing what goals you want to achieve. Small steps towards a change or an improvement are just as important as big leaps.

2. Resources

As a professional educator, you will find it useful if you build up a set of resources that can help you in your work. Knowing about these resources, and how to use them, could also help you if you were claiming Continuing Professional Development points at any stage in your career.

Source:

ECD Practitioner Quality Reflection Tool – Saide

www.saide.org.za › documents › ECD-Practitioner-Qua…

Prioritising Early Childhood Development

27 October 2020

In early childhood you may lay the foundation of poverty or riches, industry of idleness, good or evil, by the habits to which you train your children. Teach them right habits then, and their future life is safe.’ – Lydia Sigourney

Early childhood development (ECD) appears to be one of the topics that most of us ignore, when it should be our primary focus. We are caught up with matric results and how that would affect or shape the future for millions of South Africans writing this crucial national examination.

As a nation and as a people, we have neglected early childhood development. We have lost focus on what is important in raising our children and we must accept this fact and start doing something about it.

uTata Madiba once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” These words should forever echo in the minds of parents, educators and society.

It is unfortunate that our primary school intake starts late, at the age of seven. By this time, childhood psychology tells us that most values have been cemented, most habits have been formed and most importantly, at this age, futures have already been shaped. This may certainly change over long period of time; however, the most crucial, are the formative years of a child’s life, and this starts before primary school.

Currently, ECD Centres which are placed under the auspices of the National and Provincial departments of Social Development, shows that early educational intervention is not taken seriously in our country. The spotlight on these centres have only shone due to inadequate output (matric results).

Research and Education Expert at Stellenbosch University, Nic Spaull, says that providing at least one year of quality ECD education to all students is likely to improve student performance. This is especially true for poorer students who would otherwise start primary school at a disadvantage. Improving the quality of preschool education offered to the poor is also necessary if the full benefit of this policy intervention is to be felt.

To level the playing field and bridge the gap between rich and poor, the have’s and have not’s and that of the disadvantaged and the advantaged, we must look to developing our children’s cognitive, physical and emotional abilities at a young age.

ECD centres must become a priority to give every child a fair chance for success at school.

Further to this, the Audit Report, found that 70% of ECD centres are not suited to providing necessary services to our young children. This is alarming to say the least.

Some of the contributing factors that are controlled by environmental health within municipalities are requirements for certain types of sanitation, facilities for preparations of food and others.

In many cases, these strict requirements can never be met. In addition, if an informal settlement is not formalised then an ECD facility will never comply with the requirements to open its doors to the public. The unfortunate reality is many informal settlements in South Africa are not formalised.

The journey of our children’s lives through the education system must be followed attentively. The state must be the net which catches all children from birth to adulthood, especially when there is no safety net to catch struggling mothers and their children, or orphans who fall through the cracks. A caring and responsible government would not allow anyone to fall through the cracks without having to reach out and extend services to ensure their needs are met and that they are treated equally and have access to opportunities.

To do this requires total change and a paradigm shift which will see government Departments of Health, Social Development and Education work together in ensuring no child is left behind.

Opinionista  Refiloe Nt’Sekhe  19 February 2018               

 

 

Investing in the Early Years

20 October 2020

Young children demand and deserve special attention. The first five years of their lives are the most important because vital development takes place in all domains (sensory-motor, cognitive, socioemotional), and their earliest experiences have the potential to influence them positively or negatively, their families and their communities in later life. Thus, without intervention, gaps between better and worse-off children widen over time; the earlier the intervention, the less it costs and the narrower the gap (Grantham-McGregor et al., 2007; Heckman, 2006).

There is a substantive body of evidence on early childhood development, the findings of which provide a call to action. The evidence suggests that the economic implications of poor child development are dire:

  • the loss of human potential is associated with a 20% deficit in adult income;

  • children who fail properly to develop physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially are less likely to be well educated and economically productive adults;

  • as parents they tend to raise children who are disadvantaged, thereby transferring poverty to the next generation;

  • when large numbers of children are involved, national development could be at stake.

However, as the evidence suggests that substantial interventions in the form of integrated programs during a child’s early years can help to prevent the loss of potential in affected children:

  • a vehicle for early intervention and child protection;

  • the basis for improving school outcomes and laying the foundation for lifelong learning;

  • a means to reduce childhood poverty;

  • an opportunity to develop the skills and competencies required for economic opportunities in later life.

Evidence for the effectiveness of interventions in early childhood is robust, coming from meta-analyses, systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials, and longitudinal studies. The evidence indicates that investment in early child development is both highly effective and cost-effective, in terms of short term cognitive and mental health benefits and reducing later-life problems that will burden not only the mental and physical health systems, but also other areas of society (for instance, in terms of costs of incarceration, substance abuse programs , and poor employment records).

The Lancet series identifies the following major risk factors impeding child development in developing countries: inadequate cognitive stimulation, malnutrition, maternal depression and violence (Walker et al., 2007). There is also evidence that there are numerous long-term benefits to pre-school, programs. Multiple positive effects of pre-school interventions have been documented well into adulthood and are therefore a major investment opportunity for development. Yoshikawa (1995), for example, found that children attending pre-school programs with a family support component showed declines in long-term antisocial behavior or delinquency. The longitudinal results of the Chicago Child-Parent Centre (CPC) Preschool Program showed that preschool participation “was significantly associated with more years of education … a higher rate of high school completion … and a higher rate of college attendance” (Ou & Reynolds, 2006). “Findings demonstrate that large-scale school-based programs can have enduring effects into early adulthood” (Ou & Reynolds, 2006).

The 2000 Nobel prize winner for Economic Sciences, economist James Heckman, demonstrated that interventions early in childhood yield economic returns far higher than interventions at any other time (Heckman & Krueger, 2003; Heckman, 2006). In specific terms, their work found that early interventions for disadvantaged children were more effective (in terms of outcome) and cost less, than later educational interventions, such as reducing pupil-teacher ratios, or adult interventions, such as job training.

The impact of access to pre-school on maternal mental health should also be borne in mind. The literature on the availability of child care is instructive in this instance; both ecological and cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that access to child care is associated with increased maternal employment and enrolment in educational activities (Crawford, 2006; Ficano, Gennetian, & Morris, 2006; Herman & Jane-Lopis, 2005; Hofferth & Collins, 2000). In the context of this evidence, Doherty et al (1995) (Doherty, Rose, Friendly, Lero, & Irwin, 1995) argue that the provision of high-quality child care is a fundamental part of enabling parents to enter and remain in employment. Publicly funded or subsidized child care programs promote women’s economic and social equality, enable families to become economically self-reliant and as such represent an opportunity to reduce poverty and inequality.

The long-term impact of the benefits of preschool interventions is seen in reduced burden of societal cost, both in terms of positive mental health outcomes and economic gain.

Malnutrition is associated with serious short- and long-term consequences. A significant proportion of children under 5 years of age are found to be undernourished the stunting prevalence is particularly high in the province and increases in the prevalence of over-nutrition are also observed (Durao et al., 2011). Poor nutrition in children under the age of two can lead to irreversible physical and cognitive damage which impacts adversely not only their future health, but also their economic well–being and welfare. Given a disturbing level of under-nutrition in children and their developmental vulnerability during early childhood, providing adequate nutrition is a key aspect of a quality ECD program. The majority of facilities operate for between 5 and 10 hours per day and provision of meals are therefore essential.

Evidence of the positive impact of community-based interventions is emerging from the health, social development and education sectors. Home visiting programs target children of different ages and have different goals making them difficult to compare. However, the evidence supports home visiting in general as a promising strategy for helping parents and promoting the growth and development of young children (Weiss, 2006). Community-based health workers (CHWs) can play a major role in identifying serious health problems in families and in some cases, they can successfully administer treatment for common conditions. Similarly, a number of South African integrated community based ECD interventions use community workers to raise awareness, and bring together local and district government and other service providers to facilitate access to services by young children and their caregivers (Biersteker, 2007). Currently, community-based early learning workers may be state funded health workers or they may work in the NGO sector (with donor or public funding).

The paucity of financial resources for many ECD facilities, together with other factors, can place serious constraints on the quality of the programming. Facilities serving poor communities who cannot afford to pay high fees or any fees at all, are most affected by this. Lack of funding can also mean poor nutrition offered to children, lack of educational equipment, and an inability to maintain infrastructure. Insufficient funding also seriously impacts on the wages earned by practitioners, which leads to high attrition rates from the sector, and often low motivation and morale.

The ECD sector is a vibrant but complex one, characterized by multiple role players, differing policy approaches and co-dependencies, to name but a few. Notwithstanding the undeniable benefits of investing in quality ECD provision, this sector faces a number of challenges, some of which can be attributed to the historical legacy of how the sector developed. Currently the ECD sector experiences the following key challenges:

  • under provisioning or skewed provisioning in relation to need and where children find themselves;

  • variable quality of programs because they have never had to be accredited;

  • lack of or inadequate practitioner/teacher training and supervision and low morale of staff who are trained but have limited career path opportunities; 17

  • inadequate or poor infrastructure that compromises safety and learning;

  • lack of institutional capacity in community-based organizations for good governance and management;

  • inadequate departmental institutional capacity to manage the size and scope of responsibility;

  • lack of finance;

  • lack of compliance with norms and standards and the legislative requirements of the new Children’s Act;

  • lack of coordination and fragmentation in the sector and between spheres of government e.g. different interpretations of the role of local government;

  • inadequate systems and resources to monitor a sector where there is a high turnover of organizations;

  • barriers to access for children with special needs and a concomitant shortage of allied professionals who can do early identification and render specialist services.

The findings of various research studies on ECD provisioning make it clear that only substantial investments in quality programs will achieve the child development outcomes needed to help children develop to their full potential.

Quality is multi-dimensional and refers to, amongst others:

  • the quality of the program, the quality of the teacher training, the supervision and mentoring given to teachers and practitioners;

  • the teacher: child ratio;

  • materials available;

  • the degree of involvement of, and support for, parents and caregivers;

  • infrastructure;

  • the physical and social environments of the children;

  • governance arrangements;

  • funding; and

  • nutritional support.

How can you compliment your community through your ECD Centre?

13 October 2020

Children grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically through both their relationships and through their community. They might find this community in school or at home, on the playground, or in the backyard.

For children, community involvement and engagement produce long-term benefits in their lives. It gives them a sense of belonging and is crucial to the building of their identity. Community involvement sends a powerful message to children. It’s one that says you are important. You are loved. You belong. And it’s a message that, with it, holds the strength to empower every child in the world.

As children develop within their smaller community environments, they begin to understand the wider society as a whole — what actions work and do not work, what values, sensitivities, and longings we share. In this their surrounding becomes the supportive, positive, uplifting foundation of the child’s life. It helps them to learn about themselves and how to tackle challenges, build knowledge, and thrive.

In an article for The Center on Evidence Based Practices for Early Learning at the University of Colorado at Denver, Gail E. Joseph, Ph.D., & Phillip S. Strain, Ph.D. state, “Building positive relationships with young children is an essential task and a foundational component of good teaching.” Children grow, in the context of close and dependable relationships — relationships that provide love, security, nurturance, and responsive interactions.

Children are innately curious. They’re on a constant quest to discover new information and new play. They are fascinated by our differences.

Positive relationship development and the building of trust can be a long process. Like Joseph and Strain say, it’s similar to making deposits into a piggy bank. When caregivers and teachers work to build the relationship, it’s as though they are “making a deposit” into the child’s relationship piggy bank. When the adults “make demands, nag, or criticize children, it is as if they are making a relationship withdrawal.”

Children with high self-esteem and a positive self-image feel capable, accepted, and encouraged. Parents.com states that, “a positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child” and helps them “develop into happy, productive people.” “Do give them choices,” author Kristen Finello of parents.com further writes.” Choices help children feel empowered. By implementing the power of decision making, children will be more able and prepared to face more difficult choices down the road.

“Don’t do everything for her,” she writes. Be patient and allow the child to figure things out on their own. This can be as simple as letting them tie their shoes. Sure — it may take longer to get to get the shoes tied and get out the door. But if you have the time, let them meet the challenge, learn the skill, and grow from it.

“Do let him know no one is perfect,” Finello states. This is advice that is applicable for everyone and should be proclaimed from the rooftops to kids and adults alike. No one is perfect. And no one expects anyone else to be perfect, either. We all make mistakes. We all learn. We all grow. In fact, that’s one of life’s greatest pleasures, watching ourselves change and become who we want to be. When a child makes a mistake, try not to react with disappointment. Instead ask, how can I help them grow from this?

When kids feel both accepted and understood from adults, they begin to accept themselves, too. This positive reinforcement transfers over into their behaviours and can produce a lifetime of happiness and strength in mental health. There is an incredibly strong correlation between how children feel about themselves and how they act. Therefore, if we approach ourselves and our community with confidence, we are better equipped to instil this same sort of confidence within children.

If we put in work, and the heart, at the community level for our children, we are working to give them the foundation for a better future. Children are gifted the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve greatness and happiness through their community.

Let us work together to unify, engage, and build these connections around the entire world — one community, one child, at a time. (www.all4kids.org › news › blog › benefits-of-community)

 

 

 

Challenges faced by the Early Childhood Development sector in South Africa

6 October 2020

According to research done by Eric Atmore, Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk & Michaela Ashley-Cooper in 2012 much has been done to improve access and quality of early learning programs in both ECD facilities and Grade R classrooms, there is a long way to go in the enhancement of service delivery (DoBE, DoSD & UNICEF, 2010).

Children in South Africa are highly negatively impacted by a array of social and economic inequality.

Early childhood development is recognized as the foundation for success in future learning. Quality early learning programs prepare children for adulthood. These programs help in laying their foundation for a holistic development and at the same time cultivating a love for lifelong learning and economic opportunity. (Biersteker & Dawes,2008).

Quality teaching and learning is essential for effective early development to take place. Regardless of the situation or the facility in which a child is placed, a quality teacher can provide a learning environment in which a child can develop optimally and in a holistic manner.

The Department of Social Development (DoSD) and UNICEF have set out the minimum standards for ECD teacher requirements in the document entitled Guidelines for Early Childhood Development Services (2006). Teacher qualification level is often used as a quality indicator for ECD services, higher levels of qualification do not always predict higher levels of quality teaching. This has been found both in South Africa (e.g. Dlamini et al., 1996; DoE, 2001b), and internationally (e.g. Cassidy et al., 2005). A Few reasons can be given as to why training does not necessarily guarantee quality care and teaching:

  1. a lack of practical demonstration and instruction during training

  2. a lack of on-site support to assist with implementation of theoretical training

  3. a lack of follow-up support after the completion of training so- as- to ensure consistent implementation.

Another particularly important factor is the Institutional Capacity. This refers to the administration and management part of the sector. According to the Guidelines for Early Childhood Development Services (DoSD & UNICEF, 2006), it is important to have administrative and managing programs in place for the effective running of an ECD center. In order for ECD facilities to adhere to the minimum standards, set by the Department of Social Development, specific processes and structures are required to be in place. The financial management of many of the registered community based ECD facilities is poor; in many of these centers the necessary administrative documents and structures are not in place. The Tracking Public Expenditure and Assessing Service Quality in Early Childhood Development in South Africa study, (DoBE, DoSD & UNICEF, 2010).

Other challenges would be poor infrastructure in many of the ECD facilities. This not only present significant health and safety risks to the attending children but also points to poor quality ECD service delivery. The researchers found that, although “programmatically sound ECD” can be provided in poor quality buildings, “an unsafe and impoverished learning environment often is associated with substandard ECD with limited development opportunities” (DoBE, DoSD & UNICEF, 2010: 94).

Due to the extraordinarily high prevalence of poverty in South Africa, hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity are significant challenges facing children in communities across the country. Nutrition is a basic physical need. The absence of adequate nutrition greatly affects a child’s early development (composed of physical development, brain development, cognitive and learning abilities), which can lead to significant, negative adult outcomes, such as reduced earning potential in adulthood (Wildeman & Mbebetho, 2005; Victora et al., 2008). In terms of learning, malnutrition and hunger greatly affect a child’s ability to concentrate, focus attention, and perform complex tasks (Wildeman & Mbebetho, 2005). These negative consequences affect children’s ability to achieve their full potential, stunting not only the individual child’s ability to flourish in adulthood, but collectively limiting the country’s potential development (McNeil & Donald, 2006).

The vast portion of ECD center funding nation-wide is from parents’ fees. Government funding for ECD comes mainly from the Department of Social Development and the Department of Education at provincial level. There are two primary ways in which the Department of Social Development in each province provides funding to ECD. The first channel of funding is through a subsidy for registered ECD facilities. This means that only those ECD facilities that cater to the poorest of families benefit from this subsidy (Giese, Budlender, Berry, Motlatla & Zide, 2011).

The second way in which DoSD provides funding for ECD is through program funding for NPOs for various ECD programs. These programs are usually non-center-based models of ECD provisioning, such as family outreach programs. Funding for non-center-based programs for NPOs is significantly smaller than funding for center-based facilities.

There has no doubt been an improvement in Grade R and ECD provision over the past 18 years since 1994. However, it is fair to say that much work is still needed if we want to improve the quality of children’s lives in South Africa.

ECD the IMPACT

29 September 2020

If children are loved, nourished and protected; if they are spoken with, read to and allowed to be curious, they will learn well and be well – and the country will thrive. That is early childhood development.

“Early childhood development is the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make.” – James Heckman, Nobel Prize Winner for Economic Sciences (2000).

If one looks at human capital that is driven by education, jobs and growth, the ECD sector is on top of the list to make this happen. The sector helps children to build their intellect, physical and emotional scaffold for the future investment in the human capital. In large it determines the role of return to schooling, technical and vocational training and university education. One can argue that it all comes down to the investment of say just R1 the ECD sector by government to have a return value of R10 to South Africa in the future.

Unfortunately, Government has failed the ECD sector by not investing properly in our youngster’s lives and therefor failed to change the patterns of education and employment fundamentally. During the pandemic it has become clear that the DSD (Department of Social Development) does not have the capacity or the interest in the sector and has rather pretended that it does not exist. The result of these actions by DSD is that an opportunity has been missed to build and redistribute our national wealth effectively.

The Covi-19 pandemic has impacted the ECD sector in more than one way for sure. Considering the vital role that the sector plays, it is important to establish what losses has been suffered especially by our children.

(* Andy Bassingthwaighte is a passionate ECD practitioner and principal, committed to the overall improvement of the ECD sector through an increase in evidence-based practice.)

According to her findings the following aspects will describe this impact and loss in a nutshell:

  1. The early years play a critical role in a child’s heath, success and happiness in the future, during lockdown our children was deprived of this and it has put a lot of strain on their ability to be just kids.

  2. ECD sector helps build social and emotional intelligence that is key for success which this state of emergency has taken from them as children.

  3. ECD’s create an environment where routine and camaraderie is of high value it gives children stability and create a safe place where behavior can be managed. We hear of a lot of young children that are struggling with depression and other kinds of illnesses due to this isolation time, for them it feels like punishment without being wrong.

  4. Although caregivers provide some place of safety, they are not always in the position to provide correct stimulation and care throughout the day. This puts those in their care behind their peers that has the means to attend a full ECD center.

All the above-mentioned aspects can be addressed where children has the opportunity to attend more reliable ECD centers that can provide good meals, educated teachers and more hands to take care of their needs.

Although the pandemic has made it clear where the ECD sector ranks on the priority list in terms of importance in South African Government, we as parents, teachers and the society as a whole still have an obligation to our children and their future.

“We need society at large to listen to the recommendations of the  relevant researchers, take responsibility for the well-being of our little ones, and support the call  on the government to provide better leadership to a sector stuck in No Man’s Land.”- Andy Bassingthwaighte.